Construction, it seems, is indeed under way for the extension of the No. 7 line, the cornerstone of the Bloomberg administration’s planned development of the far West Side.
The MTA’s capital construction page shows an update for November with pictures from below, where the agency is hollowing out the cavern for the station and making way for the eventual launch of a tunnel-boring machine, which will slowly dig its way along the 1.5-mile route.
The project, budgeted at $2.1 billion, would extend the line from Times Square to the base of the Javits Center on 34th Street, adjacent to the West Side rail yards. The Bloomberg administration has been the driving force behind the extension, which it says will help spawn tens of millions of square feet of West Side development.
The cash-strapped MTA had no desire to pay for the project, so the city is footing the entire bill, up to the $2.1 billion. Should costs exceed the budget (which many onlookers assume they will, given rising costs everywhere), the city and the MTA have yet to negotiate an agreement on who would cover them.
(Given the lack of real funding sources for the MTA’s next five-year capital plan and the $1.2 billion deficit in its operating budget, it’s safe to assume the agency isn’t eager to pony up any cash for a project the Bloomberg administration pledged would be paid for entirely by the city.)